Risky maritime trade focus of exhibit

CASTINE — The Castine Historical Society has an exciting array of exhibits and programs scheduled for 2021. 

After being physically closed for a year because of COVID-19, the society will open June 11. The featured exhibit will be “Risky Business: Square-Rigged Ships and Salted Fish.”

Back for a second and final year, the exhibit invites visitors to step back in time to the 1800s when Castine’s working waterfront thrived on a global market. The fascinating exhibit brings Castine’s maritime economy to life through paintings, objects, and documents. 

“Risky Business” and all other exhibits are free and will be on display from June 11 to Oct. 11 in the society’s Abbott School exhibit gallery. Open hours are Friday-Saturday, and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Face coverings are encouraged inside the building. 

Castine’s fascinating history is evident throughout the town. From early June through October, volunteers will lead hour-long “Castine Uncovered Walking Tours” of the town. Visitors who prefer not to walk can take Castine Town Common Seated Tours, which will be offered from June through August. All tours are free of charge and no pre-registration is needed. To see tour schedules, visit castinehistoricalsociety.org. 

The Historical Society also will present a number of free talks throughout the season via Zoom. Pre-registration for Zoom talks is required at castinehistoricalsociety.org.

The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, June 15: The 25th Anniversary of Castine’s Community Bicentennial Quilt, 6:30 p.m. Learn how this 24-foot-long pictorial quilt that depicts the history of Castine was created by over 60 community members. The quilt is on display every year at the Castine Historical Society.

Thursday, July 15: The 12th Annual Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture, 7 p.m. Noted maritime historian and author Lincoln Paine will deliver a lecture titled “Perfected Visions of the Past: Maritime Maine in Almost 2020 Hindsight.” 

Thursday, Aug. 19: Annual Meeting and Program, 4-6 p.m. Following a brief business meeting, Maine Maritime Academy professor, Captain Richard F. Miller will present a talk titled “The Square-Rigged Ship: Form & Function — Then and Now.” 

Tuesday, Aug. 24: “Maine’s Mid-Century Moment: Castine’s Katharine Butler Hathaway, Author of ‘The Little Locksmith.’” 7 p.m. Co-sponsored with the University of Maine at Augusta, a symposium about Castine’s Katharine Butler Hathaway and her best-selling 1943 memoir “The Little Locksmith.” This program is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Wednesday, Sept. 22: “Cotton’s Ocean: Castine and the Antebellum Cotton Trade,” 7 p.m. Stephen J. Hornsby will discuss the importance of the cotton trade in Maine before the Civil War and how Castine fit into this world of oceanic commerce. 

The Historical Society also plans two free outdoor in-person events for the 2021 season: 

Saturday, June 26: 2021 Season Open House, 4-6 p.m. An outdoor reception and chance to view the society’s exhibits. Refreshments served. Face coverings required inside the building. Rain date: July 27, 4 p.m.

Thursday, August 5: Maritime Concert: “Songs of the Sea, Ships, and Sailors,” 6 p.m. An evening of traditional Maine seafaring songs will be performed by Castlebay on the Castine Town Common. Rain date: Tuesday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m.

The Castine Historical Society serves as a window into Castine’s extraordinary past. The Historical Society preserves local history and hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions, lectures, town walking tours, house and garden tours and historic re-enactments.

To learn more, call 326-4118 or visit castinehistoricalsociety.org.

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